Purpose: To evaluate the clinical value of 18F-FDG-PET/CT for the diagnosis of fever of unknown origin (FUO) and inflammation of unknown origin (IUO) in Chinese population, as well as the characteristics of PET/CT in different category of etiological disease.
Methods: A total of 376 consecutive patients with FUO/IUO who underwent FDG-PET/CT at 12 hospitals were retrospectively studied. FDG uptake was quantitatively and visually evaluated, by using SUVmax and a 4-grade scale respectively. A questionnaire survey to the clinicians was used to evaluate the significance of PET/CT in diagnosing of FUO/IUO. Data analysis included the etiological distribution in the study population, image characteristics in different category of diseases, and clinical significance of PET/CT.
Results: In 376 studied patients, the infectious diseases accounted for 33.0% of patients, rheumatologic diseases for 32.4%, malignancies for 19.1%, miscellaneous causes for 6.6%, and cause unknown for 8.8%. However, the etiological distribution among hospitals was varied. In addition, the etiological disease composition ratio has changed over time in China. On PET/CT examinations, 358 (95.2%) of the patients had a positive finding. Within them, local high uptake lesion was found in 219 cases, and nonspecific abnormal uptake (NAU) was found in 187 cases. FDG uptake in malignant diseases was significantly higher than in other category diseases both on SUVmax and visual scores (t-value range from 4.098 to 5.612, all P value < 0.001). Based on a clinical questionnaire survey, PET/CT provided additional diagnostic information for 77.4% of patients, and 89.6% of patients benefited from PET/CT examination.
Conclusions: FDG PET/CT is a valuable tool for clinical diagnosis of FUO/IUO, and it is of great significance in further investigating the usefulness of PET/CT in non-neoplastic diseases.
Keywords: Fever of unknown origin (FUO); Fluorodeoxyglucose; Inflammation of unknown origin (IUO); Positron emission tomography.